Are You really Loving?

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In our modern-day culture, the word Love is not as defined as it used to be, or at least it used in a much broader sense and as a result has become diluted. And the love of some things cannot be the same love that we have for people, is it? No. obviously there are different kinds of love. When we say we love our kids or our spouse…. we are not loving them with the same kind of love that we do inanimate objects, hobbies or food. So who gets to define love? culture? modern history? Poems, magazines, or how we individually define it…or is love defined by something else or someone else? It is unfortunate that the word Love has been watered down so much and used in so many ways. It can be easy to use it just as flippantly in the more important relationships. In this episode, we discuss this idea and ask ourselves a real and serious question. When we say we love how do we know we mean it?


[Jennifer] Welcome to the marriage after God podcast.

[Aaron] We’re your hosts, I’m Aaron.

[Jennifer] And I’m Jennifer.

[Aaron] We’ve been married for 14 years.

[Jennifer] And we have five young children.

[Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story and hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other.

[Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together, including our newest book “Marriage After God”, the book that inspired us to start this podcast.

[Aaron] “Marriage After God” is a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose.

[Jennifer] To reflect his love.

[Aaron] To be a light in this world.

[Jennifer] To work together as a team.

[Aaron] Using what he has given us.

[Jennifer] To build his kingdom.

[Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey.

[Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together.

[Aaron] This is, Marriage After God.

[Aaron] Welcome back. We’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your host of the Marriage After God podcast. How are you doing Jennifer?

[Jennifer] I’m good.

[Aaron] Yeah, what are you drinking?

[Jennifer] I’m drinking hot chocolate.

[Aaron] I got a cup of coffee. This is like our second time now doing like having drinks while we’re-

[Jennifer] Yeah, last time we both had tea, which was?

[Aaron] Interesting.

[Jennifer] Fun.

[Aaron] I like tea. But I love coffee way more. So I’m having some coffee right now.

[Jennifer] Speaking of drinks, me and the kids were learning about water this week, which is just fascinating. I think that if you haven’t had a chance to study water, I just want to encourage you that you should, cause it’s cool. But did you know that it takes like 45 to 50 gallons of water just to make one cup of orange juice?

[Aaron] Are you talking about like from the ground, like the tree?

[Jennifer] Yeah, like what’s required to produce a cup of orange juice.

[Aaron] Oh, the amount of oranges.

[Jennifer] Yeah, not 50 gallons of water to mix with frozen orange juice concentrate.

[Aaron] So, for the tree to grow the amount of oranges necessary, it takes about 45 to 50 gallons of water. That’s actually incredible.

[Jennifer] Cause it’s over time, that the orange grows.

[Aaron] So when I have a couple of oranges, it’s like drinking 50 gallons of water. That’s my water for the month.

[Jennifer] I don’t know, I thought it was interesting.

[Aaron] That’s awesome.

[Jennifer] Little tidbit that I memorized this week. But also I gotta say one more thing about water, because as we were reading this book, this orange juice fact was one of them in there, but it also said that, and I didn’t know this, Aaron did you know this?

[Aaron] Nope.

[Jennifer] Let me say it first. That a snowflake, how it’s made, and you can look this up, like if you Google the definition of a snowflake. Although be careful, look up the scientific like.

[Aaron] Of snow.

[Jennifer] Of snow, a snowflake.

[Aaron] Yeah, that’s funny.

[Jennifer] How it’s composed is actually ice crystals forming around a piece of dust.

[Aaron] Okay.

[Jennifer] Okay, and I sat there and I, my jaw dropped and the kids were like, what mom? And I’m like, wow, the Bible talks about how, well, that hymn popped up into my mind, he washes us white as snow. And I thought, you know, the Bible talks about how as people we’re made from the dust, Adam was made from the dust. And here’s this picture of a dust molecule flying through the air, surrounded by snow, ice crystals, and that’s what makes a snowflake. I just thought it was such a beautiful picture. So I had to look it up and Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red, like crimson, they shall become like wool.” And so there’s this contrast of what we’ve done and that color of Crimson, that red, and they shall be as white as snow, pure white, no shadows.

[Aaron] It’s almost like God designed it that way. He had a cool, these pictures of the gospel.

[Jennifer] I know but it’s like hidden because no one goes around looking up, what is a snowflake? We all just assume it’s snow.

[Aaron] I’ve known about snowflakes for a long time but didn’t know that they were formed around dust. I just thought they’re formed in the air.

[Jennifer] I think it’s so phenomenal, I think it’s so pretty, I love it.

[Aaron] And it is, when the Bible tells us that, he is a hidden attributes, his divine nature is seen clearly in nature. I think that’s awesome. And we’re seeing little bits of this like these truths that God has in the Bible, but it’s also shown in nature, which is amazing.

[Jennifer] Yeah, I saw another verse, Hebrews 10:22, not quite about snow or snowflakes, but talking about water. And it says, “Let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” I thought that was another really just great verse that happened to pop up when I was researching about snow.

[Aaron] And these are good verses to remember as Christians because that’s who we are. Because there’s times that we don’t feel that way. Cleansed, washed white as snow. You know, the enemy comes in and reminds us of our filth, reminds us of our sin, those things the wrong thoughts, the attitudes, and then the Holy Spirit says, well, no I’m cleansing you of that. And I’m growing you, and I’m maturing you. So let’s move forward.

[Jennifer] Let’s be something beautiful, like the uniqueness of a snowflake. Which I love because it’s covering the dust. The ice, it covers it. And I love that picture. And a bonus when I was looking up pictures of a snowflake online, and there was these pictures like super zoomed in, on a snowflake, and when light hits it, it reflects a prism, a rainbow, because the composition is still water, and I love that. I love that this whole picture within one of the smallest things that we see with our eyes is a snowflake. And you get the dust molecule, the snow surrounding it, God’s promise of a rainbow right there.

[Aaron] That’s awesome.

[Jennifer] I don’t know, it was just mind blowing to me.

[Aaron] So next time you see a snowflake, think about yourself, think about God making you white as snow.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] And that’s awesome, it’s a gospel.

[Jennifer] Cool little intro there.

[Aaron] That was a really good intro, yeah.

[Jennifer] You’re welcome.

[Aaron] We just wanna invite you if you have not done so, but many of you have, so we just wanna thank you. Many of you have left reviews and ratings for this podcast, and you’ve done them in various places wherever you listen to this podcast, you’ve left reviews and we love that. But if you haven’t yet, if you haven’t given us a star rating or review and you’ve been blessed by this podcast, would you do that today? Would you bless us by leaving a review that helps people find the podcast? It helps all the algorithms know how to rank our podcast. And it helps people that, when they find our podcast to know what it’s about and what peoples testimonies are.

[Jennifer] It’s also kinda like a virtual high five. So if you wanna high five Aaron and I for what we do for you here on Marriage After God, give us a high five.

[Aaron] I like that, a virtual high five. This is a review that someone left, and it says this, I can’t say their name. I don’t know how to say that. Anyways it says me and my husband are literally all for this podcast. We love how real they are and how they use personal experiences to teach us from their perspective. I love you guys, excited for the next channel. Love that. I think they’re probably talking about next episode maybe .

[Jennifer] Or next season.

[Aaron] Next season. Anyways, we just, we love getting these. We love reading them. And so if you wanna leave one of those today, that’d be awesome. And like Jennifer said, it’d be like giving us a high five virtually. So thank you.

[Jennifer] We’d also like to encourage you guys to sign up for the marriage prayer challenge. You just go to and sign up and you’ll get 31 prayers over the next 31 days, encouraging you to pray for your spouse. So if you’re listening alongside your spouse make sure that both of you guys sign up.

[Aaron], it’s completely free.

[Jennifer] All right Aaron, you’ve been excited about this topic. This was kind of your desire, right?

[Aaron] Yeah, probably because it’s one of the biggest things I need to work on.

[Jennifer] You didn’t have to admit that.

[Aaron] Well, I’m just tryna be honest.

[Jennifer] All right.

[Aaron] Yeah as I was rereading through the notes I’m like, yep, this is something that I need. So, I’m not coming from expertise in this, other than coming from what the word says. And it’s something that me and you care about, and want to be better in, and want to walk in.

[Jennifer] Always.

[Aaron] Love, walking in love. It should be so easy, right?

[Jennifer] It’s easy to say.

[Aaron] It’s easy to say. That’s kinda what we’re gonna talk about today. It’s so easy to say actually.

[Jennifer] Should we tell them who said I love you first? This has nothing to do with our notes or what we’re gonna talk about today but, let them guess, wait, ready?

[Aaron] Let them have a few seconds. So if you’re listening, who do you think told the other that they love them first? And we’re talking about us.

[Jennifer] Aaron or Jen?

[Aaron] Aaron or Jen? Okay.

[Jennifer] Okay, ready? I did. It was me.

[Aaron] Everyone is rather like, yeah.

[Jennifer] I was patient, I waited for you but that’s okay.

[Aaron] You wanted to say you loved me when you knew of me in high school, didn’t you? Like and I didn’t even know.

[Jennifer] That’s okay.

[Aaron] That’s right. I mean you loved. Yes you did, you said you love me first. Wait, did I actually, did I tell you I loved you back?

[Jennifer] Of course, after some silence and making me nervous, and me wanting to like jump out of the car cause I was so embarrassed. You made me…

[Aaron] Well it’s a big word.

[Jennifer] I was already like, what is it called? Blushed, blushed?

[Aaron] Yeah, blushing.

[Jennifer] Blushed you. Just kidding. I had already pink cheeks from being embarrassed from saying it because I just wanted to get it out there, and then you made my cheeks red.

[Aaron] Red faced.

[Jennifer] Red faced.

[Aaron] Anyways we did pronounce our love for each other in my car. So that’s a fun little tidbit for everyone listening about us, that Jennifer said she loved me first.

[Jennifer] I’ll say this, I think we both knew way before anyone ever said it.

[Aaron] Yeah, so it wasn’t that we had no idea.

[Jennifer] And you weren’t surprised by me saying it.

[Aaron] I wasn’t, it was more of a…

[Jennifer] There it’s out.

[Aaron] Yeah, we were being slow.

[Jennifer] Patient.

[Aaron] To say the word. Because it meant something. Which is what we’re talking about today, what it means. And this idea of love. And saying it, and other things around love.

[Jennifer] All right, let’s jump in.

[Aaron] Love’s a big word. Like I just mentioned a second ago.

[Jennifer] I mean it’s four letters, yeah I get your point.

[Aaron] It’s not a big word in length, but it’s a big word in meaning, right? But here’s the problem, and this is why I wanted to start this way, is that the problem with love being a big word is we use it in a lot of ways, right?

[Jennifer] Yeah like I love my plants. I love my house. I love our cereal, ice cream, right?

[Aaron] Yeah, music.

[Jennifer] What do you love Aaron?

[Aaron] Pizza, I love pizza.

[Jennifer] You think being a pizza delivery guy would deter you from pizza loving.

[Aaron] No in fact it increased my love for pizza. If you didn’t know anything, at one of my earlier jobs as a pizza delivery driver, I loved it. It was actually, while we knew each other.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Early on in our relationship. But I do love pizza. I love trying new things, like a little adventurous things. I really love board games. I think you do too. We’re like game people.

[Jennifer] Why? I’m competitive, so it actually doesn’t matter what we’re playing or what we’re doing, as long as I win.

[Aaron] You like competition, you like winning.

[Jennifer] I love winning. I love winning. Don’t you guys love winning?

[Aaron] Yeah. I love movies. So it’s kind of unfortunate and actually nice because I watch less movies, but with all the movie theaters being shut and all that stuff, but I do love movies. Watch them way less than I used to but, we love lots of things. So, but there’s other kinds of things that we love, right? With a different kind of love.

[Jennifer] I’d say a deeper kind of love.

[Aaron] Yeah. Like I love our kids. I love you.

[Aaron] That’s good. Do you love me like you like cereal?

[Jennifer] Different.

[Aaron] Those are different levels of love.

[Jennifer] I like you both. No, but we love each other. We love our friends. We love God. We love Jesus.

[Aaron] But that’s definitely not the same kind of love. They’re different. Like my love of pizza, or my love of my children, they’re not even in the same planetary alignment. They’re not in the same category.

[Jennifer] That was a weird thing to say but I get you.

[Aaron] But they’re the same word. And I feel like in our modern day culture the word love is not as defined as it used to be. Like we use love for a lot of things.

[Jennifer] It’s used like on a broader sense.

[Aaron] Yeah, it’s diluted, it’s used to have so much more meaning especially in the Bible. But now like we just, I love that, I love this. Like everything’s, we love everything. But they cannot be the same kind of love. And it’s obvious that there are different kinds of love, but it’s hard when we use the same word for all different kinds of love. Would you agree?

[Jennifer] Yeah, like when I say that I love you, it’s not the same kind of love that I am saying that I love those other things.

[Aaron] In essence when we use love it’s more like I really enjoy these things. I really like these things, I desire these kinds of things, I want these things.

[Jennifer] Well you know me, I love talking about definition. So, who gets to define love? Is it culture, modern history, poems, magazines?

[Aaron] I would say currently those are the things that define current cultures word for love. The news, the magazines, movie stars or pop stars. How they are saying this is what love is.

[Jennifer] How they use it we kind of all just follow along. But, I mean we do know as believers that, the creator himself has defined love.

[Aaron] That’s true. He’s the one who gets to say what it is, and what it means. Not the world, not even ourselves, because we can even at times define what love is, which is kind of what I wanna discuss, we wanna discuss in this episode, is we do this ourselves, when we say, well, I love you. But it doesn’t always add up. So with society using the word love in so many different ways, many things defining it, it’s been watered down so much and used so many ways, it’s become easy even in our most important things like our relationships to use the word flippantly. Where we just, we throw it out. I love you. But do we really mean it?

[Jennifer] Yeah, it’s like we have one word that encompasses so many other different words really.

[Aaron] Right. And what’s interesting is in that…

[Jennifer] Not all words, sorry I meant all versions, like, we have the word love, that means a lot of different things.

[Aaron] But it’s one word.

[Jennifer] But one word.

[Aaron] Which can be very confusing

[Jennifer] Which is why people use it in so many different ways. Is what I’m trying to say.

[Aaron] Well, and it’s important to realize that because you know when we talk about all the things that we love, and then we just also love our wife, also love our spouse, or you know, our kids, but there’s something that’s gonna make these mean something different. In the Bible, in the Greek, in the Hebrew, there are several different words for love. You can look those up. It’s a great study to do, a word study on the word love in the Bible. And each one has a different meaning, each one’s used for a different purpose, and they’re much more defined, they make much more sense. And they’re almost always in the situation of relationship. But in this episode, we’re gonna not focus on the words necessarily for love, but rather the proof of love.

[Jennifer] I love that.

[Aaron] So to better illustrate this, I may say, I love my wife. Like I love you. But how do you know that to be true? How do you know that what I’m saying isn’t just words but truth.

[Jennifer] Because you show me. And your actions back up what you’re saying.

[Aaron] Exactly. So, but we do this. We say it all the time like, Oh, I love you. Like, I know this happened, but I love you. But what’s hard is in our hearts and our minds. There’s a disconnect. We can feel it, we may not able to verbalize it.

[Jennifer] Real quick before moving on. I think that’s important to note that when your words and actions are backing each other up, that’s when trust is built. And you just use the word disconnect so when you say one thing, you say I love you but your actions don’t back that up, that disconnect contributes to distrust.

[Aaron] Right.

[Jennifer] Right? I think that’s important to note for marriage, marriage is listening.

[Aaron] And that’s what we wanna talk about. Because we all would say we love our spouse. And if you’re listening and you’re not in a place where you can say you love your spouse, then I pray that this encourages you in this episode, I pray that you’d go before the Lord and ask him to help you love your spouse. But it’s important, because our words matter, and our actions matter. And someone brought up ones at our church about the actions of Jesus and how important they were because they lined up with his words. He did what he said. He said what he did. He fulfilled his own word. He fulfilled what God’s word was.

[Jennifer] Which is why we can trust him.

[Aaron] Which is why we can trust him.

[Jennifer] So real quick. We titled this episode, “Are you really loving?” But I think the real question what we’re gonna look at today is, are we acting in truth when we say I love you.

[Aaron] Right. And that’s what we need to ask ourselves. And that’s why we’re going to walk through some things, just to kind of challenge us in keeping us from just throwing out the word and making that like a default, like, yeah I’m acting this way and this way and this way and, but you know, I love you, right?

[Jennifer] Well that’s actually a good question. Can we say that we love and are not necessarily required to act? Act on that, you know, act like we do.

[Aaron] I don’t know, how do you feel when I say that I love you but I don’t act like it?

[Jennifer] Yeah, like use the word proof earlier and I just love that because I think that it’s proof.

[Aaron] Right.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] So if I don’t act like it? It doesn’t matter what I said because I love you, but my actions aren’t even close to showing it. Then you’re thinking, do you really though, do you really love me?

[Jennifer] And that’s not good to place doubt in our spouses hearts and minds

[Aaron] But we do love, and the Bible shows us. Jesus makes it very clear how we will know if we love him or not. With Jesus, it’s not a, as long as you just say you love me I’m like, you can do whatever you want and we’re good. Just say you love me. Now Jesus makes it very clear how we will know if we love him or not. And this is what Jesus says in John 14, verse 15, “If you love me,” it is very clear, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So he makes it very clear. He’s not looking for as his term is, lip service. He’s not looking for people to just say they love him, he wants people to show they love him.

[Jennifer] So in deeds, like in your actions, obedience to his word.

[Aaron] 1st John three, verse 18. He says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” Again, this clarifies this idea of what it looks like to love. We can use our words and let it be that only, which we do. I do this. I say it but I don’t do it. But he says, “Let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.”

[Jennifer] Before you go on and explain how really important this is, can I interrupt with one little story about Truet?

[Aaron] Yes.

[Jennifer] Okay. So our number four, he’s two and a half and he’s been slow to talker. Slower to talk.

[Aaron] Yeah, slower to talk.

[Jennifer] Out of the other kids. And I think partly is because he just gets away with it. Everybody like interprets what he’s trying to say and just doesn’t make him say much. So I’ve been trying to work with him on how, you know, how he talks.

[Aaron] Speaking to us.

[Jennifer] Speaking to us. And he runs up to my lap the other day and he says, “Love you mom.” And it’s like his first like big sentence where he’s pronounced everything correctly, and his eyes were just so lit up and I just thought, oh my word, I love you so much. And then he kept doing it for like a whole minute. It was so sweet, over and over and over again.

[Aaron] Cause he knew he got it.

[Jennifer] Yeah. But you know, you’re talking about this verse, it says, “Little children let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” And in as much as that moment impacted me for Truet, and what he was sharing with me that he loves me, it was unprompted and out of nowhere and I know that to be true. I think that kids do less talking and more actions all the time if we’re paying attention. They show us in what they give us and they don’t have much, but they’ll, you know, rewrap one of their gifts for us, they’ll write or draw a picture for us.

[Aaron] They crop and relapse and like when Truet runs up and just wants to hold my leg.

[Jennifer] Yeah. They’ll grab our hands randomly. And I think that all those little ways of them expressing what we mean to them is exactly that. So I love that this verse is saying little children because it’s almost like he’s talking to all of us as children of God, but really it’s like a draw to, hey, look at the children.

[Aaron] That’s really good. Cause they do, they are less about just words. I think that’s something that they grow into as they get older, but yeah, they’re deeds. And I like that it puts deeds with truth. Cause you were talking about that. It’s like lying. Like you say it but you don’t do it, you’re not telling the truth. But when you say it and do it, that’s the truth. And this is the same for how we love our neighbors and fellow believers. Not in words alone, but in deed and in truth

[Jennifer] It’s in the action, it’s in commitment, it’s in obedience, it’s in that heart posture toward the thing that you’re saying it’s the proof.

[Aaron] Yeah. It’s the doing, it’s how we act. And as we always say, like in our book, our closest neighbors or spouse, so it gets to start in the home, where we get to practice, acting out our love for our spouse, for our children, and then our church, and then our neighbors, and then, you know, strangers. But it starts there and trickles out from there. So how often do you think we say we love each other?

[Jennifer] Multiple times a day. I’d say definitely at the end of every phone call, and before we close our eyes at night, before we go to bed.

[Aaron] Yeah a lot. We don’t have a number. That was a rhetorical question. We say it a lot.

[Jennifer] Oh, sorry.

[Aaron] Yeah, it’s good, cause it is multiple times a day. I would put a number if I knew exactly, but there’s no way to know. It’s a lot.

[Jennifer] Here would be my question if I was to ask a question. How many of our disagreements, disappointments or contention between us, how often is that a result of feeling unloved in some way?

[Aaron] Probably most of them, right?

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Like if it’s me.

[Jennifer] That was rhetorical too.

[Aaron] Yes. But what’s interesting about this is we just answered how we say we love each other a lot, but then we have contentions and disappointments and disagreements as a result of feeling unloved. So the amount of times we say it, and how often we act it out, is not the same. That equation doesn’t work. But this is true, everyone that’s listening is probably thinking like, oh yeah, because this is marriage. This is life we have to navigate this. But, if we have our minds on, Oh man, I’m not even acting in love right now, like I should even say I love you if I’m not acting like it. I need to make an adjustment in my behavior, to show you I love you. And that could come into just example. Humbling myself in an argument and saying, I don’t wanna fight, I’m really sorry, how can I help this?

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Like slowing it down instead of ramping it up. Which is something that I can tend to do.

[Jennifer] We both do it when we walk in the flesh. You said we all get to navigate this in marriage. And I think that it’s so important to acknowledge that love is a massively important part of the infrastructure or foundation of the marriage relationship. And if there’s no love, then there’s no trust, there’s no hope, there’s no purpose. Those things begin to crumble if the infrastructure, if the foundation isn’t solid. And so as much as we say we love each other and we think that our marriage is going okay. I think it’s really important to constantly reevaluate that foundation and say, are there any cracks, are there any places where I need to reinforce, affirm and better that structure. So does that make sense?

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] So why don’t we look at how the Bible defines it?

[Jennifer] Wait, are you going to thee, section.

[Aaron] It’s an important section. It’s the love section. It’s 1st Corinthians 13. Everyone calls it the love chapter in the Bible.

[Jennifer] We gonna give you a piece now, and then the big chunk later.

[Aaron] Yeah. And there’s a reason it’s quoted so much. It’s because we need it to get this right. It says this in verse one, “If I speak in tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I’m a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing.”

[Jennifer] So without love, we’re nothing, without love we gain nothing. So we must learn what love is. And we must understand what love does and how it motivates us to action.

[Aaron] Yeah. I wanna make one note. This is a little side note. But I noticed in this. So in 1st Corinthians chapter 12, and I even think 11, it’s talking about all the gifts of the spirit. And like tongues and prophecy and all these things. And this is mentioning these ideas of gifts, which means that we can operate in giftings, but not be walking in love. So it’s not the same thing as showing love to one another. And at the end of chapter 12, he talks about how he would show them in even greater way. And then he goes into talking about love.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] So the greater way it’s like yeah, you can walk in these giftings, you can walk in these things that God’s given you and not have love. And it’s like a resounding symbol, a noisy gong. It’s not the complete picture. God wants us to walk in love. And yeah, so we gain nothing, we are nothing if we don’t have love. So I got a question for you listeners, and for you Jennifer. Do you know what the first mention of love in the Bible is?

[Jennifer] No. I’m just gonna be straightforward, I don’t.

[Aaron] You didn’t know before the, I mean you’re probably looking at the notes, right?

[Jennifer] I’m just being honest, I didn’t know. Yes I see your notes, but I didn’t know.

[Aaron] Well, there’s something for those that like like to study the Bible, and I hope you all do. There’s something interesting about words and when you find the first mentions of them cause they have value of why they were mentioned there in the first place. That the first mention in the Bible of love is when God tests Abraham’s faith. Abraham the father of faith. But at the same time in this story gives a foreshadow of how he plans to show the world his own love and faithfulness. It’s in Genesis chapter 22, which by the way is really crazy that it takes 22 chapters in the Bible before you hear the word love.

[Jennifer] That’s what I was thinking. That’s why I just, the first thing I thought it was God in the garden. I’m like duh, but I was surprised by this.

[Aaron] It says this. He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So this is a pretty familiar story. Abraham’s to go sacrifice his son, you know, and we hear it. We know how that goes. God stops him, but it was to test his faith. He says now I know you will not withhold anything from me, even your own son. But he says, the son whom you love, right? This was the son of promise. And it sounds really familiar. Read that verse right there in Matthew 3:17.

[Jennifer] “And behold, a voice from heaven said, this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.” Nice little tie in there.

[Aaron] Jesus is God’s beloved son with whom he is well-pleased, right? Like Isaac was Abraham’s beloved son. And then read this one, John 3:16. I’m pretty sure everyone knows this one.

[Jennifer] Everybody knows this one okay. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

[Aaron] And that is the gospel. God sent his son that he loved to be a sacrifice that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life. And there’s a great correlation here, that God loves his son Jesus, and Jesus was motivated by love for us and for the father. And that same love compels us to live for him and not ourselves. And so we have this picture of Abraham and his son, and this is the first mention of love in the Bible, and it’s a foreshadow of the gospel of Jesus coming in. That’s the first time we hear love. Is when it’s foreshadowing in the gospel. It’s more specifically about Jesus coming to die on a cross, which is incredible I think.

[Jennifer] That’s amazing, I never tied those two together like that. When you see him, you know back to back it’s just really powerful. So let’s look at some more scripture in John 15 verses nine and 10 it says, “As the father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love.” So again we see this picture of love in action. Abide is an action word, it’s not a passive word. So he says abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. So he says how to do it. So Jesus has commandments to love your neighbor as yourself. To love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. He says those are the greatest two commandments. And all the law of God hangs on those two commands. And so if you love God, you’ll abide in those things and that’s how you abide in God’s love, and Christ’s love. It’s an action. It’s not just I said it, I love Jesus. Great. How do you know you love Jesus? How does Jesus know you love Jesus? How does the world know you love Jesus? Here’s another verse, it says, “See what great love the father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God.” And that is what we are. Even God, it says, “See what great love the father has lavished on us.” See. So here’s the proof of God’s love of what he lavished on us.

[Jennifer] And then all you have to do is start in Genesis and read to revelation.

[Aaron] Yeah exactly. That we should be called children of God. So him making us children of God, when we used to be children of wrath, right? Is him showing his love. He doesn’t just say, I love you, figure it out. He says, I love you and I’m gonna lavish it on you by making you my children and my son Jesus. He shows it.

[Jennifer] What I love is this verse right here. 1st John 4:19. “We love because he first loved us.”

[Aaron] There’s an order to that action.

[Jennifer] There’s an order to that action because his love is what motivates us, it’s what compels us, it’s what draws us near to him and near to others. It’s what we choose to walk out in. Not because we just understood one day what love was or read the dictionary definition of love, is because he loved us first.

[Aaron] And I think there’s a lesson there that I think in marriage, not I think, I know, we can get into the cycle of when you treat me right, I’ll treat you right.

[Jennifer] Conditions.

[Aaron] When you love me well, I’ll love you well. But we see this. We love because he first loved us. So we can actually initiate and love. We can walk in it, we can be quicker to forgive, we can get be quicker to give grace and understanding and patience, and we can go out of our way to do something for our spouse regardless if we think they deserve it or not. But the fact that they are your spouse means that they deserve your love. So they do deserve it. But we can initiate it. And I would imagine most spouses would recognize that, would see it, would be drawn into it, and would desire to reciprocate it. So rather than waiting for the other person to do it, and having a bad attitude about it like we do tend to have.

[Jennifer] Or fall into the trap of hearing those lies of, well, I’m not gonna do it if dah, dah, dah, dah.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] If there are not. I’m not gonna, cause they don’t.

[Jennifer] Or because they did this, you know, xyz.

[Aaron] Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” So we see this picture of the way a husband should love his wife, is the way Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.

[Jennifer] This reveals that proof of love that Christ gave him self up for his bride.

[Aaron] So how do we know Christ loved his bride?

[Jennifer] He sacrificed himself.

[Aaron] He gave himself up for her.

[Jennifer] He gave everything.

[Aaron] Yeah, he went to the cross. This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. That’s 1st John 3:16. All of these verses were showing that love is not a word, it’s a way of being, it’s a thing we do. All of these Christ showed it, God showed it, Abraham showed it. We have these pictures of what love looks like in the Bible.

[Jennifer] So I know that Jesus is our Lord. He’s our savior. He’s a lot of things to us, but this next verse shows us he’s also our friend. John 15, 13, “Greater love has no one than this to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

[Aaron] So Jesus did it.

[Jennifer] He did it for us. And, again going back to that motivation of why we can love others, why we can do this and obey his word and live this way is because he did it first.

[Aaron] Action. Luke 6:27, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

[Jennifer] So I put this one in here and then I bolded, do good, because it just shows that again it’s something that you are doing. You’re intentional, you’re choosing.

[Aaron] There’s proof in your love. Colossians 3:14, “Put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” So we have this action, put on love. It’s something that you’re going to act in, something you’re gonna walk in, something you’re gonna perform.

[Jennifer] So, you know, I used the word compel earlier and some people might remember this verse, but it’s in different versions, we hear it different ways. And so I’ll read the ESV, but I’m also gonna show you where the word compel is. 2nd Corinthians 5:14 through 15 says, “For the love of Christ controls us, or for the love of Christ compels us because we have concluded this, that one has died for all, therefore all have died. And he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised again.” So Aaron just thinking about what you just said about we don’t have to, or you’re talking about initiation and you were saying, what we do is not contingent upon the other person. We can actually initiate love and we can choose to walk that out. It’s because of this, what this verse is saying that we live for Christ and Christ has called us to love one another. So if a husband has a wife that maybe is distant, isn’t quite in love as she used to be, or there’s something, this turmoil he can be controlled by Christ’s love for her, right? So he knows Christ loves him, he knows Christ loves her. And so he can be as compelled or controlled by Christ’s love because Christ died for him and he knows it. And so he can pursue her in that way.

[Jennifer] To be that initiator.

[Aaron] Which is incredibly difficult, which is an example of dying to yourself

[Jennifer] And wives we can do this same thing.

[Aaron] And that’s what we wanna do. We wanna let the love of Christ control us so that he flows through us, not our flesh. Cause like we talked about earlier when our flesh gets in the way, it don’t work so well. So if love is foundational in our relationships with God and with others. If we say we love, the proof will show in our actions.

[Jennifer] Amen.

[Aaron] It will show in our obedience to the word of God. And it will show on how we conduct ourselves toward others.

[Jennifer] Namely our spouse.

[Aaron] First and foremost.

[Jennifer] I mean first and foremost. So going back real quick to when we were talking about what you know, what or who defines love, and I said, the creator himself. Do you wanna read this next verse?

[Aaron] 1st John 4:7 through 16, “Beloved, let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves, has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.” In this, the love of God was made manifest among us that God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him, in this is love. Not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him, and he in us because he has given us of his spirit. And we have seen and testified that the father has sent his son to be the savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. And whoever abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him. So not just that God defines love, God is love. So what he says love is, is what he is. So we do not get to make up our own definitions of love because then we’re making up our own definition of God. Because he is love. So we should be careful to look at what the word says love is because it’s showing us a picture of who God is.

[Jennifer] Let’s look at that. Let’s finish reading 1st Corinthians 13.

[Aaron] That’s perfect.

[Jennifer] Starting in verse four. “Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never ends.”

[Aaron] Yeah, can we get rid of the irritable or resentful?

[Jennifer] Only on Monday and Tuesday, sometimes Friday.

[Aaron] And also the bears all things and believes all things.

[Jennifer] What does that even mean.

[Aaron] Well, this is showing us who God is. So it tells us that he is patient cause he’s not willing that any should perish. That’s bearing all things. He’s waiting. But that’s what we should be. When we’re rude, we’re not walking in love. When we’re not being patient. This is the question we’re always asking ourselves. Cause we’ll say I love you but, and we have to ask ourselves, well like, was I really loving? Cause I actually was very impatient which means I’m not walking in love, because God is patient. So we can look at this, and this is God’s definition. He’s defining himself actually. But this is how he desires us to walk in his spirit. So it becomes really easy to find out if we are walking in the proof, or if we’re just using words and the words don’t line up with the actions.

[Jennifer] Aaron, you’ve joked about the heart chart or the love chart. Do you wanna?

[Aaron] Yeah, I’m gonna just, I tried making one, and it did not work the way I wanted it to work.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] But essentially it’s just, whenever you feel like you, when you say you love and you’re looking at a situation, you get to ask yourself, what was I being patient. If it’s no, then you’re not loving. And so you get to go back and repent. I want to love, I need to be patient. And then you’re like, am I being kind? No. Oh, then I’m not loving, so I need to go back. Okay am I being patient? So it’s this idea that you just, you look at what it says. So instead of defining, cause this man, we do this. I love you. I was just really frustrated, but I love you. And then you realize like how I totally acted just now was not loving. So why are we saying we love when we’re not acting like we love. I do this, when I’m being impatient with the kids, I’m not walking in love with my kids. So I can all day long say I love my kids but if I’m not patient with them, how do they know I love them? They don’t.

[Jennifer] And that’s just the first word then there’s kind, does not envy or boast, it’s not arrogant, rude, and it’s on its own way, it’s not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice at wrongdoing. It rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

[Aaron] Yeah. When I’m being irritable, like the idea of irritable means easily frustrated. I can be triggered easily. I’m just sensitive. If I’m being that way, then I’m loving myself and no one else. Because I don’t want anyone to bother me, don’t touch me, like oh, you did it again, like making people walk on eggshells, it’s not loving people. That’s this idea that of irritability, like I’m easily offended. That’s another word that the other translations use is easily offended.

[Jennifer] So I love play on words and we have this section of scripture that is talking about love. And then at the very end, it says, love never ends. Which draws you back up to the beginning, and it reminds you that you keep, yeah, that God’s infinite for sure. But that also that we’re supposed to keep persevering, enduring, and living out this way of love. And I think so often, maybe I shouldn’t use the word often, but in marriage I think just overall because I think we’re fleshly people.

[Aaron] What?

[Jennifer] No. And I’m not just saying just specific to us, I’m trying to get this picture out that marriage can be difficult.

[Aaron] In general we have a flesh.

[Jennifer] We have a flesh, and I think we can be tempted very easily to put a quick end to those ways of being. Does that make sense?

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] Rather than just continuing on to doing the next right thing.

[Jennifer] Yeah, to be to persevere in patience, to persevere in kindness, to keep extending these ways of love and proof that you actually do love. And here’s an encouragement cause I think someone could take this and say, well I’ve been impatient lately it doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids or my spouse. No, the point is that because God loves us, the idea of abiding in his love and being given of his spirit, all these verses we just read that talk about these things is when we get convicted. When I recognize, man, I wasn’t walking in patience. What happens is because I love my kids, I’m willing to repent and grow, and next time be more patient. Because if I genuinely didn’t love, I would not care. I’d be like, yeah I’m not going to be more patient with you, I don’t want to be more patient with you. No I want to be more patient with my kids. Something that we pray about often, like God give us more patience. God give us, help us be more kind, more gentle, help us to be more playful. So just because we make a mistake and we didn’t walk in love in the moment, doesn’t mean we don’t love, it means that we didn’t prove it in that moment. And so that’s what’s awesome about God is, he is patient with us because he loves us. And he’s given us his Holy spirit to convict us of sin and righteousness. And so he’s working on us. So praise God that he calls it out on us.

[Jennifer] Amen. And as we abide in him, that understanding, and those reminders that we should be loving and how to love will be reinforced in our minds and in our hearts. But how do we abide in him?

[Aaron] In his word.

[Jennifer] Well in his word. So if you listening to this right now, if this is an opportunity for you to take a heart check and say, am I really loving? Am I loving my spouse? Am I loving my children? Am I loving God? And using the scripture that we’ve shared throughout this entire episode to consider if you’re truly loving or not. But also, are you abiding? Are you in God’s word? Because when we step outside of that and we are going week to week without being fed and consuming his word, we’re gonna forget. And we’re gonna let the flesh rule in our ways of being.

[Aaron] Right, which is why we’re told to abide. Which is a continual process that we… Cause in 1st John it says, “If you’re gonna walk in the spirit, then keep in step with the spirit.” The spirit of God’s moving, we don’t control it, he’s moving. And so we need to be following, keeping in saved. And like you said, so getting in the word, again this isn’t to tell you whether or not you are saved, this is because you’re saved. Go look in the word and see how your actions line up with what it says, how your way of thinking lines up with what it says and let the word of God transform you by the renewing of your mind. Because that’s what we need.

[Jennifer] And this question of are you really loving? It’s not really fair because it’s not really a yes or no question, because every single one of us know that regardless of how we acted today, or even all the ways that we have proven our love, we know that we can be greater at it, deeper at it, wider at it, right?

[Aaron] Yeah. With the holy spirit for sure.

[Jennifer] So I think it’s a good time to just dig in with ourselves and follow up with, what can I do to prove my love? Whether I’m proving it to God, proving it to you, proving it to my kids, my friends, my family, others.

[Aaron] Yeah, so there were people that I love.

[Jennifer] I think we should ask it every day.

[Aaron] We do what we say. And you have a note here that says don’t. You have a note here that says don’t let your love grow cold.

[Jennifer] Okay so I put that there because I was just recently reading Matthew 24. And you know, it’s talking about the end times.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] And, yeah, it’s just an encouragement. Don’t let your love grow cold.

[Aaron] It says in those days, the love of many will grow cold. And so we’re seeing that, we’re seeing people that they don’t care. They’re easily angered, they are frustrated, they’re certain groups that they just don’t like and that’s the hearts of many, but it doesn’t need to be hearts.

[Jennifer] Yeah, let’s not be them.

[Aaron] We can have warm soft hearts. And the Holy spirit does that for us.

[Jennifer] Okay Aaron, so since I like to be practical, you know this, everyone listening knows this. I always bring it up. But for those listening, we’ve talked about love and how to prove your love and the spiritual side of all of this, which is great. Let’s do a lightning round of three practical ways a husband can show love and a wife can show love, or prove their love on a daily basis so that those listening can go home and activate.

[Aaron] This is good for the husbands. Cause like me, they’re probably thinking like, okay so what’s the three-step program. How do I do this? What’s the formula? I wanna do this. Like, what do I do tomorrow?

[Jennifer] All right, gets and write these down. Ready?

[Aaron] All right.

[Jennifer] Hold on. Do you go first or do I go first?

[Aaron] I’ll read these ones cause they’re for me to you.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] And they’re convicting.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] Number one, sit with her, look in her eyes, maybe with your arm around her and just smile. Be close. So this is like a closeness, like intentional close proximity.

[Jennifer] It’s like the world’s spinning around you but the two of you are not.

[Aaron] Yeah, I’m here, look at me.

[Jennifer] Things are still between us.

[Aaron] Your eyes are beautiful.

[Jennifer] It’s calm. You’re my everything.

[Aaron] Yeah. Number two it says stick around after dinner and help clean up or encourage her to take a moment to herself. This is something that I’ve done.

[Jennifer] You do this very well. You let me go like take a bath and you clean up or be with the kids.

[Aaron] Yeah. Leave a note for her, number three, on her pillow or maybe before she wakes up, or on the kitchen counter, or I post it on the mirror.

[Jennifer] You’ve written in the mirror before.

[Aaron] Yeah, hopefully the steam stays and hanging it up. But these are just some real, these were really great practical, like ways I’m sure all the wives that are listening are like, oh I’d really appreciate that.

[Jennifer] Look, we know these aren’t the super deep, super wide, super, you know, great, greater ways of showing love, but I’ll tell you what being in marriage, what, 14 years now? It’s those small ways that add up over time that really do build that trust.

[Aaron] Yeah. Then asking the Lord to help you be more creative.

[Jennifer] Totally. He’s the God of creativity.

[Aaron] So how can a wife proof, show, act?

[Jennifer] Okay. Affirm him with your words. Acknowledge something that he is doing right or something that he’s growing in, something that you see in him, and encourage him.

[Aaron] That’s a good one. I love affirmation.

[Jennifer] I know you do. Number two, encourage a conversation you know he’s interested in and just sit back and listen. Be engaging, but you know, let him teach you something new or share something that’s been on his heart or mind.

[Aaron] That’s a good one.

[Jennifer] You like to do that with me.

[Aaron] Number three.

[Jennifer] I’ve learned a lot of things from you actually doing that.

[Aaron] Your number three by the way you can practice tonight if you’d like. I’m just trying to help there.

[Jennifer] Give them a back massage or a foot massage just because.

[Aaron] Totally, I’ll take it.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] That’s a good one.

[Jennifer] All right you guys, I hope that you were encouraged by this episode. Obviously there are millions of more unique ways to love your spouse, especially when you take the time to study them or know them well. So take the time to do that for your spouse. Our challenge for you this week is just to be thoughtful of how you show, improve your spouse, and affirm your love for them.

[Aaron] That’s great.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] Speaking of great, what are you grateful for?

[Jennifer] That was amazing.

[Aaron] Continuing our challenge for the month or for the season I should say.

[Jennifer] Yes. We kicked season five off with this section of the podcast where we thought it would be fun to share the things that we’re grateful for, as encouragement for you to think about things that you’re grateful for. And that we’re just gonna share a bunch of gratefulness this whole year, right?

[Aaron] Be grateful people.

[Jennifer] Let’s be grateful.

[Aaron] So I’ll start.

[Jennifer] Perspective is key.

[Aaron] Yeah. I’m grateful for health. I was just thinking about it when I was trying to write down like what am I grateful for? Well, it’s interesting cause when we’re sick, all we wanna be as healthy.

[Jennifer] That’s true.

[Aaron] And then when we’re healthy we forget about what it’s like to be sick. And I was just really thinking like, I’m really happy that right now we’re healthy.

[Jennifer] Yeah. Mostly healthy. Do you wanna share with them what happened to your elbow?

[Aaron] Oh Gosh. Yeah I was walking, it’s been snowing and it’s freezing outside, and I was walking with my stroller to take it into the garage from the van and I slipped on the ice and fell right on my elbow.

[Jennifer] It’s pretty swollen.

[Aaron] It hurts really bad.

[Jennifer] Sorry.

[Aaron] I don’t know what’s wrong with it but it don’t feel good. I’m healthy though.

[Jennifer] You are super healthy.

[ Aaron] I wrote this before I did this to my elbow by the way. No, but even with my elbow hurting, I am grateful for our health. It’s been nice. Especially with five going through any sickness.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] It’s a while.

[Jennifer] Okay, and I’m grateful for testimony. Just the good deeds, the works, the things that happen and those who give God the glory for it. I know my faith has always been encouraged and increased when I hear of, you know, people’s testimonies or things that are going on in people’s lives because God is working and he is moving, and I love hearing about it.

[Aaron] Yeah. And for those of you don’t know. A testimony is simply what God has done in your life for you through you. Maybe you can be challenged to share that this week. Share your testimony with someone.

[Jennifer] That’s a good idea.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] Cool. All right, and then as always, we’d like to end in prayer. Dear Lord, thank you for sending us your son whom you love and who took what we deserve so that we can have a relationship with you, eternity with you. Thank you for your great love. Thank you for loving us and caring for us. We pray we would receive your love and share your love with others. We pray we would show our deep love through action and in truth. Please give us the courage and the boldness to love extravagantly and to love deeply. We prayer our insecurities and selfishness would knock it in the way of truly loving others. We pray the love we experience in our marriages would be extraordinary. We hope others would see how we love each other and know it is because of you. May you be glorified in Jesus name. Amen.

[Aaron] Amen. Thanks for joining us on this episode. We love you. Again you guys are our share warriors and our prayer warriors. If you feel obliged, we’d love for you to spread the word about this podcast, share it in an email, or text message. Invite someone to listen to it with you, and get the word out. So we love you all, and we look forward to having you on our next episode.

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